SMD Proofing & Editing Services – Nick Wale Introduces Siobhan Day

SMD Proofing & Editing Services – Ms Siobhan Day

So how did you become a proofreader?

I studied a degree in English, originally with a view to teaching. I’ve always found proofreading quite exciting and I get a real satisfaction from spotting those spelling, grammar and punctuation errors that others sometimes miss. Having spent years working for others as a proofreader, I decided it was time to go it alone and set up my own proofreading service.

What services do you offer?

What can I say, if it needs proofreading we’ll do it! We offer a wide range of services such as;

  • Academic Proofreading
  • Corporate Editing and Proofreading
  • Blog Writing
  • Proofreading and Editing for Authors
  • English as second language Proofreading and Editing
  • Application and CV writing and proofreading
  • Media and Journalism Proofreading and Editing
  • Marketing Material Editing and Proofreading
  • Copywriting
  • Website content writing and or proofreading
  • Translation from or in to English, French, Italian and Polish

What can writers expect from you?

SMD Services has a passion for making what you write right! We offer a quality service but we also offer great prices. We like to look at each quote individually, rather than just offering a blanket price, giving us the opportunity to offer the best service to our clients. We take the time to understand exactly what it is the client wants, whether it’s just a simple proofread for grammar, punctuation and spelling or full copywriting. We aim to ensure your work is clear and correct whilst still preserving your voice and vision.

How many books have you proofread?

SMD Services has many clients who use our services, from authors to corporate business’s looking for not only proofreading but also brochure and website content. We have a proven track record in proofreading and translation with a growing client base.

What kind of books do you enjoy personally?  

My genre of books is mixes really. I love anything that makes me escape for a few hours whilst reading. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale stands out as one of my favourites, but I also love the classics, an occasional romance and you can never beat a good thriller that has you on the edge of your seat. I love those books that leave you wanting more!

How much are your services?  

As I said before, we do not have a standard blanket rate. We have such a varied client base that we prefer to take each quote individually so that we can offer our clients not only the best quality but the most competitively priced service. We also offer a price matching service, we will beat any like for like quote that you may have and we also have special offers once a month for our clients.

How can people get in touch with you?  

People can visit us at www.smdproofing.co.uk and request a quote or they can email us direct on info@smdproofing.co.uk. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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I Want to Tell You a Story: Nick Wale Meets Gary Hayes

Author Gary Hayes came to me on Sunday and told me he was finally ready for an interview. I was ready, he was ready and my proofreader was ready. We started chatting and soon I could see that this was going to be one great interview. This week, I decided to make Novel Ideas better. I needed an interview for the “Hot Picks” page and who better than a talented author like Gary Hayes? Let Gary tell his story to you!

gary Hayes

Q) Great to meet you Gary– so how did you get mixed up in this crazy world of writing?

A) I’ve been writing for about 30 years, all my life really, but I took several years off to pursue a Music degree and a Martial Arts career. Yeah, I know, doesn’t seem compatible, but you’d be surprised at the similarities.

Q) Could you tell me about the similarities? I’m sure readers would love to know how it feels to connect all of those arts. This may be a pioneering thought– martial arts and writing together!

A) I’m a pianist/keyboard player, and much of what you do in practice is getting your fingers to obey your mind. Lots of repetition, techniques, strengthening the muscles, etc. Then in performance, it’s all about flowing with the music, reading the other performers, adjusting to what they are doing.

In Martial Arts, it’s exactly the same. A good fighter is like a good musician. Preparation by learning techniques and strengthening the necessary muscles. Then learning to read your opponent, anticipating his moves, going with the flow of the fight.

Many things learned in one discipline translates easily to the other, if you look at it right.

Q) Do you believe good writing skills take time to learn– like the skills used in martial arts or those used by musicians?

A) Absolutely. Although some people are born storytellers, the mechanics of writing is a learned thing. And the better one understands how to express certain ideas and feelings, the better the story flows.

I’m still learning about commas. Nasty little buggers.

Q) Talking about commas, do you use a proofreader? Do you use an editor? Do you agree that writers should use professional help?

A) Personally, I need all the help I can get. I’m in a professional writers group called Dark River Writers. Each person in the group has published professionally. Some, like Brad Strickland, have sold many, many books and stories. Brad is also an English professor at North Georgia College. Everyone in the group has read my stuff and made numerous corrections. I’m still fighting typos though. Even after repeated readings by professionals they just keep sneaking in.

Q) I have the same problem. I always use an editor for these interviews. Nothing worse than a badly written interview, eh? Can you tell me about your latest book? What is it called?

A) My most recent novel, out just this week, is Beneath Castle Walls, Book 4 in my serialized novel Sleag’s Quest. It’s an epic fantasy with what I hope are some interesting differences from typical fantasy stories.

Q) Interesting title! What is “Sleag’s Quest” about?

A) Sleag, the greatest warrior in the world, is forced to rescue his wife and son from an evil wizard who has taken over her kingdom. He assembles a band of colorful characters, a stable boy, an innkeeper, a powerful witch and her equally powerful teenage daughter, and a master swordsman who all agree to help him on his rescue quest. Things get complicated very quickly.

Q) Do you believe that “Sleags Quest” is your best work so far?

A) Yeah, and getting better with every typo. Ha. I started it about ten years ago and the more I live with it, the more I see interesting things to bring out. It’s like the Star Trek movie Wrath of Kahn at the end when Spock says, “Remember.” That was not in the original script and just sort of a throw away Nemoy came up with. Then it becomes a whole ‘nother movie.

I keep finding things like that in Sleag all the time that make the book oh so much richer. I love it when things from early on all come together at the end.

Q) Tell me about your writing process. How do you write? Do you like music in the background? What helps you get into the writer’s groove?

A) I’m a seat-of-my-pants writer. I don’t like doing an outline, although I’ve found that my first draft is actually a very long outline. Music, yeah, got to have music. But nothing with lyrics, too distracting. I like to hear the words in my head and often speak them aloud. Rhythm and flow is so important to my writing. I don’t like clunky sentences. But after 30 years of writing, all it takes to get me in the groove is sitting down and hitting those keys.

Q) Tell me about your personal publishing experience. What turned you onto the Kindle Direct Program?

A) Well, this is my first published book. It runs about 225,000 words. Agents and editors I contacted all said it was too big to take a chance on. One agent actually said books that big intimidated him. This surprised me because most fantasy books are real door-stoppers. So, after years of shopping it around I decided to serialize it and go with Amazon’s Kindle Direct program.

So far, I am very pleased. It’s selling better than I expected, and I still have two more books to go in the series. So, yeah, I’m very proud of Sleag’s Quest. I think I’ve got some really great covers, too. It’s the kind of book I would love to read.

Q) So what tempted you to come over and get interviewed by me? Did you see my previous work?

A) Yes. I’ve read several interviews. And of course I get your Facebook posts. I’ve always believed that books are the best, most fun, most interesting, most rewarding things anyone can buy. Everyone should be excited about books. Everyone should do all they can to help other writers. I used to work for Waldenbooks (15 years) and I loved turning people on to new writers and having them come back and buy more of the same. So, I really appreciate what you do. It’s a joy, pure joy to read about new writers.

Q) Talking of loving books! Who are your own favourite authors?

A) Long, long list all over the map. Starting with Dickens, Shakespeare, Jack London, Vern and Wells, and moving on to Asimov, Clark, Heinlein, Niven, Norse, Norton, Tolkien, of course, C.S. Lewis, and on and on. More recent: Scott Card, Rothfuss, and especially Scott Lynch. Lies of Locke Lamora is the best thing I’ve read in a long, long time. Oh, and let’s not forget Bradbury!

Q) So how do you feel about writing? Is it a creative need for you? Is it a way to make extra money? What drives you as a writer?

A) Definitely a need. Money is always nice. I’ve made more this past year than any other, mostly on short stories. By the way, I’ve got a Steampunk story coming out in Clockwork Fairytales from Tor in June. It’s a novella, and I’ve very proud of it. I’ve always loved reading, and to be able to write my own stories is wonderful.

Q) What do you personally think about paying for interviews on blogs? Recently, even I have come under fire for being paid to do this. Do you believe interviews should be free?

A) Everybody needs to make a living. When I was in college, I took a piano pedagogy class. It was all about teaching piano. The big thing, the first thing they emphasized was, “Your friends will want you to teach them how to play for free. Do not do it. They will not appreciate what you teach them and they will not practice.” If you worked for a big magazine and got paid for doing interviews it would be different. Somebody has to pay for your time and experience. That’s life. Nothing is free. Live your life and help others as much as you can. Nobody writes for free, at least nobody successful.

Q) What does it feel like to be a published author? Has it changed you in anyway?

A) It’s pretty great to go to a bookstore and see your book, or an anthology with your story, sitting on the shelf. And right now, having a thousand people reading my books is frankly unbelievable. I think it would have been better if it had all happened when I was much younger and could have enjoyed it like in a movie. But, hey, I’ll take it any way I can get it.

Still, it’s always about the next book or story, isn’t it? No matter how great the feeling is now at this moment, I still have so much more to write. Let me tell you a story. . . .

Check out the Sleag’s Quest series below!

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lyndyschoice - Copybeheathcastlewalls

Karina Gioertz Talks Novels, Writing and Writer’s Daydreams! An Interview with Nick Wale

I had an email from a young lady the other day. I receive all kinds of emails but the ones I enjoy most, however, are when people ask me to interview them. Karina Gioertz asked me for an interview and how could I say no? I am proud to present Karina Gioertz to you!

karina

Q) Nice to meet you, Karina! So tell me– how did you get into writing?

A) Starting with the big question, I see! Well, I’ve actually been writing for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I loved making up my own little stories and filling my notebooks with them. As I got older I moved on to Poetry. My writing just sort of kept evolving, and in 2011, I finally wrote my first novel.

Q) Tell me about your early stories. What did you write about? What set your imagination on fire?

A) As a child? All of my stories revolved around animals. The first one I can remember was about a cat named Daisy. I think it’s because I always wanted a pet but my mother wouldn’t allow it, so I created my own, so to speak.

Q) What have you been up to lately? Any new book releases?

A) I released two books back-to-back last month. One is a Thriller called Blood Bound and the other is a YA Romance called This Christmas.

Q) Tell me about Blood Bound! Where can people get it? What’s it about?

A) Blood Bound is the story of three cousins who have been estranged for over a decade but who must come together as they seek justice for one of their own. It’s about greed and corruption as well as redemption and strength of a family bond. It is currently only available as an E-book on Amazon, but will also be out as a paperback in the coming weeks.

Q) It sounds interesting to me! Do you believe self publishing is the future of publishing?

A) I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I definitely still have a lot to learn about this business, but I do feel that self-publishing is creating huge possibilities for authors who might not be able to share their work otherwise.

Q) Do you write to satisfy your own creative need? Do you write to make money? Why does Karina Gioertz write?

A) I write because if I didn’t my head would explode! My brain never seems to shut down. Creating characters and making up stories is just what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. There isn’t a moment of my day when I’m not lost in some crazy thought or another. When I write, I feel like I’m directing those thoughts a bit more and using them more productively than if they just drifted off, turning into just another random daydream.

Q) So how do you write? Do you like music in the background? Do you like silence? What do you need to write?

A) I usually write late at night. I can’t have any background chatter, real or TV, because I automatically tune into what I’m hearing. However, I do love to play my music. I have a special writing mix I turn on before I get started and it helps me disconnect a bit from the real world so I can get sucked in by whatever story it is I’m working on.

Q) Many writers tell of getting lost in their work and “waking up” hours later wondering where the time went. Do you ever get lost in your writing?

A) All the time. There are those times when the story just flows and you lose track of everything else. I love those moments. That’s when I do my best work.

Q) Can you tell non-writer readers what it feels like to finish a manuscript?

A) Are there words to describe it?! It’s incredible! There is nothing better than writing that final sentence and following it up with ‘The End’. To know that you were able to take those first few sentences, those random first notes and ideas and turn them into an entire world, filled with characters who feel more like friends and events you didn’t even see coming until you wrote them in, is exciting. There’s nothing else like it. The second I finish, I want to turn around and do it all over again!

Q) So, going back– what’s This Christmas about? Where can people find it?

A) This Christmas is also available on Amazon. It’s about a young woman who realizes she’s in love with her best friend after her college roommate shows interest in him. Naturally there are complications that lead to awkward moments, misunderstandings and surprise encounters under the mistletoe.

Q) I think it sounds like an interesting and romantic tale! Are you working on a current project?

A) Yes, I am. This time, I’m giving fantasy a try.

Q) Can we have a few sneaky secrets about your new project for our readers, please?

A) Oh, all right, I can’t tell you much, but I will say that there will be an array of recognizable characters guiding a brand new generation no one has ever met of or heard of before. There will be magic, mystery and adventure…and perhaps even a touch of love.
Q) Love’s alright isn’t it! So which of your books do you consider your favourites?

A) My first is still my baby. I love Blood Bound, but Country Girls will always be closest to my heart.

Q) Which writers do you personally enjoy?

A) My mother got me hooked on Sydney Sheldon many years ago. He is my all time favorite!

Q) If you could have written any book by any author, which would it have been?

A) Harry Potter. To have been able to create that world and those characters with such detail…that had to have been incredible.

Q) I agree with you there! So Karina, why should readers choose your books to read with so many on the market?

A) It is my hope that I have created loveable characters and put them in entertaining predicaments; that I have been able to address serious issues while still finding the humor and that no matter how low I may go, I always end on a high note.

Q) What do you like doing outside of writing? Any hobbies?

A) When I’m not writing, I do a lot of painting. I like to refurbish old furniture and turn worn and battered pieces other people are throwing out into beautiful pieces of art.

We wrapped up there and Karina went back to writing her latest work. I enjoyed my time with her and I hope you enjoy this interview. Karina is a driven girl and I am sure there will be many, many books to come!

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Check out Karina’s other books as well!

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Follow Karina on her wonderful blog, FriedGatorTail, here!

Stuart Yates is Back! Nick Wale Heralds the Return of Stuart Yates

This will be my third interview with Stuart Yates–a writer’s writer and a man who seems to have endless ideas for books. I was impressed with our last interview. Stuart is a writer and he writes almost every day. It matters not if he has sales, and over our conversations I have realised how wonderful it must be to just write for the joy of writing. When you see a guy like Stuart who has sometimes sold only one or two copies of a book, you wonder why he keeps doing it? He has his fans and he has a deep love for his work. He might be writing for a select audience, but those people sit up and love his work. That is the best part of anything– knowing that your work is appreciated by someone. I present to you my third outing with Stuart Yates.

Stuart Yates

Q) Tell me, have you enjoyed our interviews so far?

A) Yes, very much so.

Q) How many interviews have you done over your writing career?

A) About writing? Quite a few, but yours have been my favourites.

Q) You had an accident on your bike recently, right? Tell me what happened!

A) Ah…well…it was raining, very hard, and it hadn’t rained for a while, so the road was very slippery. I just lost control. Simple as that.

Q) How long till you recover?

A) Well…not sure. Perhaps a week. I’ve torn the ligaments in my arm, busted up both knees. Very painful, but I’m okay. Nothing is broken! My arm is in a sling, so it is hard to do very much at all, really.

Q) Have you managed to fit some writing time in?

A) Well, funnily enough, I had a sudden spurt of inspiration! So, yes, I’ve managed it, but very slowly with one finger of my right hand. My left one is incapacitated. I’m working on a new thriller, which is coming along very nicely. Once I start thinking of scenarios, it is difficult to stop.

Q) You’re a creative powerhouse!

A) A creative powerhouse? Well…when an idea takes hold, it does tend to take over.

Q) Tell me more about your latest thriller.

A) This one is set in the near future, when the world is massively over-populated. The sea-levels are rising and the politicians decide to take somewhat drastic action.

Q) What do they do?

A) They create a smoke screen– they get a real duffer of a policeman to investigate a murder, so that the world will focus in on that. Meanwhile, they put together an elaborate plan to end everybody’s problems. It’s a simple fact that in a generation the population of the planet will be 10 billion people and we cannot sustain those numbers! That’s the thread of the story. It’s not nice, and it has no happy ending– but it is good fun!

Q) How has the world changed since you started writing?

A) In so many ways! I used to type on an old Olivetti portable, using masses of correction fluid and carbon paper. I longed to be like Dashiel Hammett, writing well into the night! Then, of course, you send it away with return postage and wait for half a lifetime for it to be returned. Not like today, of course! Everything is so much faster! [The writing process is] still tinged with frustration and disappointment though. That much hasn’t changed! The rejection slips still mount up, only this time they are in the form of e-mails.

Q) How often do you get rejected?

A) A lot! I have written what I think is a wonderful story, and it has gone to maybe thirty agents, all of whom have rejected it. A publisher liked it, read it all, but decided not to go ahead because my hero was too weak. Poor man. So now my latest manuscript is with Harper Collins and some agents in the States. We will see.

Q) Have you been rejected by Harper Collins before?

A) Yes!!! Years and years ago, when you could submit directly to them. Nowadays, they won’t look at you without an agent, but late last year they threw open their doors to ‘open submissions’. They received 4500 of them!!! Mine hasn’t been rejected YET…

Q) What is so important about a signing with Harper Collins?

A) Because they are HUGE!!! They assign an editor to you, do the marketing, publicity, arrange interviews (wink wink) and press-releases. They are a major international publishing house and are fully equipped to take you forward in your career. When the opportunity came to submit, I simply had to. I had made some changes after the feedback from the publisher who had rejected me, so I feel it’s a better product. It is the first part of a trilogy. I’ve already written the second, and the third is planned.

Q) What would you deem a hit?

A) A hit? For me? Anything over ten copies sold makes me happy. I just got my royalty cheque for Burnt Offerings. I made a whopping five pounds!

Q) You’ve had a book that didn’t sell even one copy?

A) Yes!!! Of course. Death’s Dark Design has sold NIL and my trilogy of animal tales set on Alderney have sold NIL. Now I find that Interlopers From Hell, which I expected to do better, hasn’t sold a single copy. Do I care? Not really. You write for the love of it. Not for the royalty checks or the fame. I don’t worry! I am a published author and that’s what counts.

Q) How do you cope with such a lack of success?

A) How do I cope? What a question. I have a wonderful capacity to simply shut out bad vibes, bad news, setbacks, etc., unless, of course, they are personal. I simply just get on with the next one. What more can you do? They have been edited professionally, they are well produced, the covers are good… AND, the stories are good, too. So, I simply carry on.

Q) Do you ever get fan mail?

A) What is fan mail? I have had some lovely comments from people, yes. Some people have done reviews on my books, people I don’t know, and that is tremendous. I have seen people make comments about my blogs. Nobody then goes and buys a book. Well, not enough to make any kind of difference. I keep telling myself ‘this is the one’ after I have finished a book. So far, it isn’t!!! Still, what does it matter? I’ve thought about opening up a little Bed and Breakfast in northern France or working in a museum, telling visitors about the exhibits– anything to keep me going artistically. I could put some of my books on the counter.

I remember once I was at a fair here in Spain. I had a little stall with my books on and I was giving away bookmarks–really cool they were– however, they didn’t have my face on them, which is always a good selling point. I handed one to some guy and he looked at it and said, ‘No, I’m not interested.’ I smiled, ‘But you do read, don’t you, sir? You could use that, it’s absolutely free.’ ‘No’, he said, and gave it me back. I was so downhearted. I haven’t been there since– I’ve even tried to give my books away at work! Nobody wants them. Maybe three or four of the forty-odd staff have read my books, and they have all liked them. Two of them wrote stonking (that means “good” for the American readers) reviews on Amazon.

One girl loved the book I gave to her, and she wanted to read more, so she has. Another good friend has helped me with editing. She’s a brilliant teacher, and literacy is her strong point. But another I had to virtually beg to read it. It was FREE for crying out loud. She just looked at me and shook her head.

Q) Tell me Stuart, do you know that your work is good?

A) Yes, I know my work is good, even though I rarely admit to that. I’m naturally very modest. I hate putting myself forward, that is why I find all this marketing and promotion business so difficult!

People find that extraordinary when they find out about my background in acting. But, like I try to tell them, that was not ME up there on that stage. That was a character. Being ME is extremely difficult.

Q) Tell me about your acting career.

A) Well, I sort of stumbled into it really. I was unemployed – AGAIN – and went on a government sponsored scheme as a youth-worker in a local rep theatre. Wow, the people I met there. So talented! Outstanding musicians and actors. I had a great time. We used to go around local special schools and put on plays for the kids. It was brilliant. I used to help out in the theatre in the evenings and got into acting properly that way. I went down to London for an audition and I got in !!!

I’ve always wanted to be an actor, perhaps for longer than I’ve wanted to be a writer. I started up my own theatre group with some friends. We won lots of competitions. I was voted best actor twice in one of the most prestigious acting competitions on Merseyside. Then I went to university, and did Drama as part of my degree. All of that taught me a lot about good dialogue pacing, tension, all of that. It was a great time in my life and I still keep in touch with some of my old friends.

Q) So your acting indirectly shaped your writing?

A) Definitely! I was always very intuitive as an actor, and I am as a writer. I just go with it, I don’t think about it too much. Sometimes, thinking gets in the way. I’m like that as a teacher, too. I can’t be doing with following plans, even though in my writing I do have a very loose plan but, it is a plan that develops as the story unfolds.

Q) How would you describe your writing?

A) Pacey, spicey, with lots of twists

Q) Do you enjoy writing sex scenes?

A) Wow!!! Dear me…er…well…Mm, what do I say to that? Yes, in short! As long as they have place in the story, why not?

Q) Has writing sex scenes made you a better lover?

A) Er…mm…they’ve certainly made me more thoughtful. The research is great !!! I don’t want you to get the wrong idea! Hey, James Bond wouldn’t be who is is without all that spice!!! I don’t write erotica…just a little sprinkling of good, wholesome fun ! And besides, writing about vicious gangsters who blow people’s legs off hasn’t made me a better killer! I deal with story-making which is fiction and fantasy. None of it is real. Although I have met some pretty gruesome characters and they populate the pages of my books quite a lot!

Q) So what was the last great book you read?

A) The last ‘great’ book I read…I re-read Of Mice and Men just before Christmas, and it blew me away as usual. That is what I would class a ‘great’ book! The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas left me feeling dazed by its brilliance. I read that a few months ago and No Country for Old Men. Now there was a book and a half. Wow. I was in awe of that. I’ve read lots of others, but none that I would term ‘great’. At the moment, I’m reading about William II as part of the research for a historical novel I’ll be getting down to in the summer

Q) What’s this new historical novel called?

A) My book has a working title of ‘Arrow From the Mist’ or something like that, but that might change.

Q) What’s the historical book about?

A) William II was killed in a hunting ‘accident’ in the New Forest in 1100. He had become separated from the main group. He was found dead, with an arrow sticking out of him. The arrow belonged to a knight called Walter Tyrel who promptly disappeared. Henry, William’s brother, quickly seized the throne…and here’s the interesting bit! He never ordered any investigation into his brother’s death; Tyrel was allowed to leave the country, and his family were awarded top jobs in the government so, was it an accident, or was he murdered on the orders of his brother? It’s a real mystery, that will never be solved. BUT, my story puts a nice little twist on it because it wasn’t Tyrel OR Henry…it was somebody else…or maybe two people… or three… who knows!!! You’ll have to read it and see! I just can’t wait to start it!

With our interview over, I left Stuart to his work. He loves his work and it shows through with every ounce of his being. I think you will discover him one day. Perhaps today? You will go and pick up a Stuart G. Yates novel and read until you are satisfied. Stuart will be satisfied, too– he will have gained another new reader. Adios till we meet again!

Stu YatesSee my other inerviews with Mr Yates here and here!

Fant Says “No” To Fifty Shades of Filth! Nick Wale Interviews Author James Fant

James Fant is a writer I’ve been waiting anxiously to interview. His busy schedule means that he can only interview when he has time and I was willing to wait. For those of you already aware of his work, you will know what to expect. For those new to the work of James Fant I should explain some important things about him. He is a gentleman above all and his education shines through clearly. James is a sturdy, strong-willed man who loves his family and his wife. He doesn’t need anything other than the family unit to keep him strong. Calm and sophisticated, he’s a man who drives himself along with his own strength and creativity. I am proud to present a true professional to you today. Here is James Fant.

James Fant

Q) So tell me, James, how did you get into writing?

A) My imagination is exceptionally strong. I’ve always been able to see an invisible world and translate what I see onto paper. I’m not crazy, mind you, but I have always enjoyed making up stories. I wrote a story in the third grade about a witch and three pirates. The witch ended up eating the pirates because they tried to kill her. (Crazy, right?) But I received an award for that story in the third grade.

Q) So that one story you wrote in third grade stirred you to become an author?

A) No. That story was a result of the creative gift that God gave me. I started writing professionally because God kept giving me stories to write. I can be driving down the road and see, for an example, an old rusted van in the back yard of a house. I say to myself, “Why is that van there in the back yard? What’s that van’s story?” So, that’s what stirs me to write. I look at things and see the story inside of them.

Q) When did you publish your first book and what was it called?

A) I published my first work in November 2011. It was a short story called “The Mended Fence” and it chronicled (briefly) the adventure of a cheating husband who came home one night and saw his wife returning the favor. I really had fun writing that story because I fashioned it to be a sort of poetic short story. Like all of the works I write, there is a message or theme in that short story that will inspire readers.

Q) I really admire that you always leave a moral or theme in your work. Is that consciously done?

A) Yes. I feel that my work is both entertaining and inspirational. In “The Mended Fence” readers are taken on a wild ride that includes reckless driving, destroyed property, and a bank robbery. You see, the main character of the story was trying to buy a diamond for his wife because she caught him cheating on her. He was trying to fix a problem in the wrong way. The moral of that story is that sometimes you need help, someone greater than yourself, to fix problems that you create.

Q) I think your work sounds wonderful. You don’t care for this current trend of sex and profanity in others’ work, do you?

A) No. I choose not to use profanity and graphic sexual content. However, I do write steamy material. It is all in the way I write.

I have a novel available now on Amazon.uk called “An Ode for Orchids.” It is about four beautiful woman and their relationships with men and with each other. This is a romance novel, but this is a novel that a reader can read out loud to their pastor. The content is steamy, sensual, and exciting; yet, it is totally clean.

Q) I was going to ask about “Ode” next. You beat me to it! How is the public receiving it?

A) Very well. I have glowing reviews of the work. Several readers have said that it made them laugh out loud as well as cry. Readers also say that they can identify with certain characters. I really love when readers pull something out of the book that I had not consciously thought of. I’m reaching readers and enhancing their life through the power of inspirational fiction and I absolutely love that about writing.

The Secret Branch

Q) Where do you get the inspiration to write your books?

A) Divine inspiration. Take “An Ode for Orchids,” for example. I started writing the story in 2006 and nearly shelved the idea after I started graduate school, but the story would not go away. No matter how busy I was with school work, with church, or family life, the story would come back to me. It needed to be told. I’m sure readers will be able to identify with the story and say, “Yes. I went through something similar.” I believe God inspired me to write the story to be both entertaining and edifying.

The idea came from my appreciation of the enduring strength and tenacity of all of the women in my life. My hardworking mother, my loving grandmother, my strong sisters (related and non-related), no-nonsense aunties, and last but definitely not least, my beautiful wife. A lot of women are holding it down on their own for one reason or another. They endure many hardships and have become tougher for it. However, they still have the power to be nurturing and sweet. So, I believe that God gave me this story to edify not only women, but also the men that want them and must have them in their lives.

I have to give credit to God for the ideas that He gives me because that keeps me going. He’s the Master Communicator and everything starts with His Words. So, I’m a big student of communication and the art of wordplay. An author can project a certain theme and really draw the reader in just by choosing the right words and putting them in the right place at the right time. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Also, as a storyteller, one has the luxury of creating utter chaos for the reader’s enjoyment. I recently read “One Blood” by Qwantu Amaru and the chaos was in full swing. Powerful storms, heated battles, tragedy and triumph. All without the need of a stunt double. Knowing that I have the opportunity to write literature that is both endearing and exciting motivates me to want to write forever.

Q) How do you go about writing your work? Do you need silence or do you listen to music? How does James Fant write?

A) James Fant writes to the rhythmic sounds of Robert Glasper, a jazz pianist with such albums as “Mood,” “In My Element,” and “The Experiment.” The list goes on. But I’ll put in my headphones and let the syncopated rhythms pump as I punch the QWERTY.

My writing process is very simple. The story starts off as divinely inspired idea. Then I outline the entire story, trying to be as brief with the outline as I can be. Then I just write. And, I mean, I don’t sit at my laptop and think about what I’m going to write. I just write.

One of my favorite movies is “Finding Forester,” with Sean Connery and Rob Brown. In one scene, William Forrester (Connery) and Jamal Wallace (Brown) were sitting at their typewriters. Forrester starts typing away while Wallace just sits there. He tells Forrester that he’s thinking, but Forrester replied that the first draft is written with the heart. The second draft is written with the head.

When I’m in writing mode, I really don’t think about what I’m writing at all. I have the story in my head and I just let my subconscious go to work. What I really love to do, especially if I don’t have to get up early the next morning, is to write late at night. I like to see what I come up with in the haze of sleepiness. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I wrote. There are some words, phrases, plot twists, and endings that my mind would definitely tell me to avoid if I’m writing earlier in the evening. After midnight, I write with my heart primarily and include every intimate detail of my experiences and thoughts. I usually come up with something pretty cool. Or, I end up writing something really crazy, get a real good kick out of it, and file it away in a folder named DO NOT USE.

Q) It sounds like a wonderful process. I write in a similar way and I always love writing to jazz. I think you have a lovely style. So what sets your books apart from others in the genre?

A) One major distinction is that there is no profanity or lewd sexual scenes in my books; however, the stories are still extremely hot and steamy. There’s a high level of passion and conflict within my stories. There may be arguments and fights. There may even be a great deal of sexual tension. But there is no profanity or graphic love scenes. Now that I’ve given that disclaimer, I love including “OMG” moments in my books, places that will make the reader say, “Wow. I cannot believe the character did that.” It’s all in the way I use words and I actually have a lot of fun crafting hot, steamy, non-raunchy books.

I want to write stories that will encourage readers to analyze and repair their personal relationships. That’s what I love about writing fiction. You can create this wonderful and exciting story with lots of twists and turns, but the story can also have meaningful characters and situations that readers can identify with and learn from. Another distinction, like my upcoming novel titled “14-Pages,” is that I may write love stories that involve married couples. Many romance novels are about people actually hooking up and eventually getting married, but I believe that love stories don’t end when the wedding ring goes on.

Q) As an author, what are the keys to success that lead to your book getting out to the public?

A) Enlisting the help of others is a major key. You don’t know everything, and you can’t be good at everything. As an indie author, I had to realize that it doesn’t matter that I run a small publishing company and that I have to wear many hats. I still need to surround myself with talented people.

Education is another key. As a graduate student I learned that the true goal of any Masters or Doctorate program is to teach the student how to learn, how to educate himself. To be successful as an author, publisher, or anything for that matter, you can’t be scared to learn new things. You actually have to embrace learning.

Q) I agree. So what is your publishing company called? Are you taking manuscripts right now? If so, what genre? How can people approach you with their work?

A) I created my publishing company REAL FANTASY PUBLISHING to release only my work at present. That doesn’t mean that I will never publish other authors. That is actually phase five of my long-term plan. But presently, I am only publishing books by James Fant and I’m having so much fun doing so.

Readers, however, can check out my website www.jamesfantbooks.com for information on my work.

Q) Can readers of your books contact you? How about publishers?

A) Readers and publishers can contact me at the following places.

Email
jamesfant (@) yahoo.com

Facebook

James Fant Facebook Page
Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Other social media sites:
Blog
Book Blogs

Q) So what is next for you? Another book? A new idea?

A) What’s next for me? My novel “14-Pages” will be released soon. “14-Pages” is about a newlywed couple who argue so much that they discuss divorce, but a marriage expert tells them that their issue is that they signed a marriage license and not a marriage contract– a document that will govern how they treat each other.

So the couple draft a 14-page contract with step-by-step marriage instructions. It even includes crazy clauses like the Tip Out Clause, The Quota, and Chill Therapy. Everyone thinks the contract is crazy and they may be right. But for Marco and Venice, the newlywed couple, happily ever after needs all the help that it can get. So here’s the question– is a 14-page marriage contract enough to save a failing marriage? Only time will tell. (Or in actuality, only I will tell since I’m the author of the story!)

Q) I will be getting a copy, James. I have really enjoyed this interview. So is there anything you would like to add? Any last words, so to speak?

A) I’d like to leave this little bit of encouragement to the readers of this interview. Please, whatever you do, continue to dream. No matter how busy you get with the cares of life, dream and I mean dream drastically. As children we fantasized about what we will be. We even tell people proudly about our dreams without an ounce of trepidation. Any and everything was possible when we were children. Then came adulthood and what many term as the real world. And many times we stop fantasizing because we’ve gotten a healthy dose of reality. But here is the real reality. All things are possible if you believe. Do you believe that?

Q) I do, James. I have dreamed my whole life and tried to make them come true. I finally met the girl of my dreams and everything fell into place. Your words really hit home with me there.

A) Now that’s alright with me. Love’s alright, isn’t it?
An Ode For Orchids

Check out “An Ode For Orchids” right now for a great read! Then check out “The Secret Branch“!

Courier Delivers its Payload in Full

Terry IrvingTerry Irving rode a classic BMW R50/2 for ABC News during the Watergate scandal and carried news-film. This was just the beginning of a career that has included producing Emmy Award-winning television news and a long writing career that has included everything from news to stand-up comedy. Terry was also instrumental in the development of many of the earliest forms of online media.

I would love to say the guy in my book is based on my younger self but, in fact, he’s much smarter, tougher and better-looking.”- Terry Irving

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Courierwritten by Terry Irving, is a book I expect to see on shelves of stores very soon. It is said that everyone has a book somewhere inside of them, but this is more than a book. This is a story that so easily could have been the truth. Set during the heady Nixon era, the story itself centres around Rick Putnam, a veteran of the Vietnam War who takes a job as a motorbike messenger. Rick picks up a reel of film that proves Richard Nixon was bribed by the South Vietnamese to extend the the Vietnam War. Rick soon finds himself on the run and hunted by assassins and a CIA agent who need to kill Rick to keep the deepest secrets about Nixon’s corruption invisible from the eyes of the world.

Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. Long term politician and Republican, he was Vice President for Eisenhower and then lost the 1960 presidential bid to Jack Kennedy. It has been said that Nixon’s profuse sweating during the first presidential debates lost him the election.

Finally, he became President and held office between 1969 and 1974. The Vietnam War damaged him as a political power and then when the Watergate tapes broke, he was finished. It took an impeachment to remove him from office and his successor Gerald Ford took the heat for pardoning him. Then, he wandered off into the wilderness. He saw an opportunity for a return to the sunlight of politics when he was approached by British television interviewer David Frost for a series of interviews. The ex-President monopolised the interviews until Frost broke him down. It was then over for Nixon.

But what if there had been bigger issues at hand? What if he hadbeen taking bribes from the South Vietnamese?

Work of fiction it may be, but, Courier delves into a vein of thought that many Americans have often pondered. What other travesties might Nixon have been committing behind the scenes? It is a well known fact that he was one of the most prolific foreign policy presidents and deemed his endeavours in that field as some of his greatest achievements. It is also well known that he was powered by money. One of his first moves post-Presidency was to engage super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar and gain a huge advance for his overly long memoirs. The main motivation for that fatal Frost interview was also money. Is it so inconceivable that he wouldn’t take bribes from South Vietnam?

Courier makes me wonder. I was not born during those heady days of Vietnam or when Nixon held the greatest power in the world at his fingertips. I was born during a different generation and in a different country. I only know of Vietnam through the books I have read and the history lessons I took at school. To many who were there, however, this book will bring back memories of Nixon and what he stood for. He was the man who bought America to its knees and then almost defaced the whole ideal of a Presidency. Courier brings all the injustice and behind-the-scenes activity of such a President into play. During this era, a man like Rick Putnam would have been killed for knowing such information. History has shown that there were no depths Nixon wouldn’t claw to just to remain the President of the United States

Well, when the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.

-Richard M. Nixon, 19th May 1977

The book itself is excellently written and hooks the reader from the word go. I find that the whole concept of a pre-internet world and the use of a motorcycle courier to get film from place to place works excellently as it gives the main character that same air of ’70’s freedom seen in movies like “Easy Rider”. The book moves along quickly and held my attention. I cannot stress how interesting it is reading the work of an experienced writer. There is something comfortable about a man who knows how to use words and has the first-hand knowledge to make his work enjoyable. This could be a movie and after the successful Nixon film “Frost/Nixon” there is a resurgence in interest in the most corrupt American President of the era.

I felt like a child at Christmas delving into this book. I haven’t been so excited by a novel in many years and got immense joy from reading about the trials and tribulations of Rick Putnam. As a writer myself, it was a pleasure to enjoy a book I wished I could have written. Mr. Irving certainly draws the reader in and the whole uncertain feel of the country at the time comes across strongly.

What became of Nixon? He just quietly drifted away and ended his days as a writer and public speaker. He was never able to climb the mountain of disgust thrown at him by the whole country. The same will never be true of this book. The whole thing has hit written across it and it deserves to be picked up very soon by a newer breed of publishers– those young guys coming up who realise that this intriguing story of what a corrupt  President did in fiction was not all that removed from what he could have done in fact.

The greatest honour history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.

-From Nixon’s Inaugural Address (20 January 1969); later used as his epitaph